I have been a recruiter for 14 years. The majority of that time has been spent in Information Technology, staffing contract and full time employees. Over those years, I have been aware that recruiters traditionally do not have a “good” reputation or a reputation of “working for the candidate.” The hard part for me was that I thought I was going to be able to help people by getting into recruiting. I did not get into it because I thought I was going to make “big money.” With that said, I have been the type of recruiter that felt it necessary to get to know my candidates and to build some sort of relationship.
I’m not talking about becoming best friends, but getting to know each other, building a friendly rapport and establishing what I feel is some level of trust. I do this on my end by being open with information and trying to follow through with what I have promised. I’m not at all saying I am perfect, because no one is. I am sure I have dropped some balls over the years, but on the most part, I do try to keep up with the candidates I am working closely with and keep them informed. I do not string candidates along if an opportunity is not real. I realize we all have families and mouths to feed and I have, on more than one occasion, told candidates to take another offer because mine was not moving fast enough and there was no guarantee it would close or that they would be the chosen candidate. As a result, I hope to and try to build trust with the candidates I am working with.
On the flip side of this issue, should I or can I trust candidates? I have had candidates that I have been working diligently for, making calls and going that extra mile, people that tell me straight to my face that they are not interviewing with anyone else, in less than 24 hours, call me and say they accepted another company’s offer. Even when I have told them the job I have is theirs and we are just waiting on paperwork. I have also had, as we all have, the candidate who signs all your new hire paperwork, shakes your hand and says they will be on site Monday at 8 and never shows up. I am talking about high-level engineers and project managers. A voicemail or email message is all it takes to maintain the relationship that has been established. Things happen, situations change.
When candidates and I are open with each other, it works well. If I know they have pending offers or interviews, I can often speed things up on my end. We can work together to get the results the candidate wants. I often have heard “I want to work for your company, but this offer came in first.” When I know in advance that this is a possibility, I can sometimes help. Not always, but sometimes. At least we are open with each other and there are no false promises. I feel where there is trust, there is respect, and I feel it is a two-way street in recruiting. When things don’t work out, we always have a chance to work together again in the future. I will continue to do my best to establish trust and build relationships on my side, and hope to come across the candidates that are willing to meet me halfway.